Parker Production in Paris

Paris Cast
The cast of The Hotel Dorothy Parker, standing, L to R: Gonzague Phélip and Betty Bussmann. Seated, L to R: Susanne Schmidt, Geneviève Mnich, Sylvie Jobert and Yvette Caldas.

We are happy to hear that Paris has an original production of Dorothy Parker stories and poems, Hotel Dorothy Parker. The show opened January 10 and has been packed every night so far. It runs till March 18. We are lucky to have an interview with the director-playwright, Rachel Salik, a new member of the Dorothy Parker Society. Our French isn’t very good, but you be the judge:

Q: Why did you choose Dorothy Parker?

A: As an intellectual, she was always ready to fight the good fight for a good cause and her humor could be deadly. She also literally burned her life away as did those of the Lost Generation to which she belonged. The life and works of this woman who lived beyond the norms are still unrecognized in France. With this show, I hope to put a spotlight on her brilliant genius and arouse readers to discover of her universe.

Paris AdQ: Who did the adaptation and which Parker material did you choose?

A: Valéria Moretti and I were inspired by Parker’s stories with their caustic spirit and acute observations of her characters, as well as their immediate theatricality. The 9 stories we dialogued plus 3 of her poems set to music are the basic elements of the show.

Stories:

  • The Little Hours
  • From the Diary of a New York Lady
  • Here We Are
  • But the One on the Right
  • Little Curtis
  • Arrangement in Black and White
  • Big Blonde
  • The Waltz
  • Lady with a Lamp

    The poems are:

  • Song [I] from The Uncollected Dorothy Parker (Romantic melody in English)
  • Epitaph (Blues in English)
  • Résumé (Gospel in English)

    One song: “How Am I to Know” (J. King and D. Parker, 1929)

    Other music linking the sequences are excerpts from recordings from 1929-1930.

    Q: How is the show staged? What will the audience see?

    A: In perpetual motion, the characters whirl from one scene into the next, shattering proper stage conventions. It’s the Roaring Twenties, with sparkling repartee, songs, gestures and visual surprises. Hollywood isn’t far away.

    Q: Who are the characters?

    A: The show has no precise story line. Four actresses share the text, playing various facets of the extraordinary Mrs. Parker as seen by herself or in her short story characters. Costume changes are in full view, with music from the period at a very fast pace.

    A 5th actress plays a black maid, a mocking counterpoint to the quartet of idle, alcoholic, bourgeois women, frozen in their social airs and snobbery. This character is important in view of Parker’s role in anti-racism. At times, a young man appears in an incongruous non-speaking part, perhaps Mrs. Parker’s subversive spirit, perhaps a child having fun…

    Q: Where is the show playing, and how does one get tickets?

    Theatre:
    Theatre Les Déchargeurs
    3 rue des Déchargeurs
    75001 Paris
    (Metro – Châtelet)
    Tues. thru Saturday 8:00 PM
    Tickets: € 18,50

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